Tuesday, October 29, 2013

what does the catechism say?

Writing  my review of "Rooted" last week piqued my curiosity; my main disagreements with the authors (who I mostly agreed with whole-heartedly and enthusiastically) were about the phrases of the Apostles' Creed "he descended to the dead" and "the communion of the saints". I was curious to know if my objections were actually rooted in my own church's theology, or if I was actually holding some vague, partly-remembered-partly-made-up beliefs that I really needed to revamp.

So I did what any good Anglican would do: I cracked open my BCP. :D

I was happy to find that I wasn't far off. Here's what the Book of Common Prayer (in the Catechism) has to say:
"What do we mean when we say that he descended to the dead?"
"We mean that he went to the departed and offered them also the benefits of redemption."
"What is the communion of the saints?"
"The communion of the saints is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise."
(Of course - and this is for you, Grandma - when it comes to "Invocation of the Saints", the 39 Articles says it is
". . . a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrenty of Scripture".  :D )
All this, of course, is not to dump on anyone else's tradition. I just want to make sure that I know my own really well. Because if I say I believe it, I ought to really believe it, and I can't do that unless I know it!

I'm curious: if you're Anglican, do you find yourself going to the BCP when you're pondering over theological puzzles? And if you're not Anglican, where do you turn to see what your church believes? (other than the Bible, of course! That first, I imagine, for all of us.)

Peace of Christ to you,


Paula said...

Book of Common Prayer all the way!! I love the service we attend (when we can afford the gas to Ottawa). They made up their own 'prayer service books' after BAS came out. It keeps most of the wording/traditions of BCP with a bit of PC (people, not man, etc). It's a happy compromise as far as I'm concerned.

Jessica Snell said...

Yay, a Canadian! :) Sorry - I grew up in Canada, so it's fun to have an old neighbor commenting on my blog. :)